10 August 2012

Namibia: Keetmans Residents Complain About Donkeys and Horses

SOME residents of Keetmanshoop and surrounding areas are complaining about donkeys and horses that graze in open areas around Tseiblaagte, Krönlein and Noordhoek, among other residential areas, and are often spotted locked up in the backyards of houses.

Nampa interviewed some residents on Thursday to find out what they think about the situation.

Those who do not use these draught animals say the animals should not be allowed in the town as they might cause motor-vehicle accidents.

A number of residents, who asked not to be named, claimed that it is unhealthy and unlawful to keep donkeys and horses in house backyards in the centre of town, and this practice should be stopped.

One woman said the horses and donkeys make the town dirty, and is not a good image for tourists.

"People should keep their animals away from town, and cars and animals cannot move around together as if there is no order. The town looks dirty and not presentable to tourists, so let's keep the town clean," advised another resident.

Another local suggested that the town council should build a kraal where the animals could be kept to prevent them from wandering around town, house backyards and crossing roads.

"The law should guide us. I think there must be a separate area provided by the municipality for these animals," said another man.

However, some residents see nothing wrong with horses and donkeys in town.

One girl said the animals are not a threat to anyone, and she thus does not really care if they are in town.

"Okaiti (Keetmanshoop) is not a farm, but with the increasing petrol price, donkeys and horses are a mode of transport. They should keep them out of the residential areas, though," another woman quipped.

Germein Blaauw, who rides a horse from the Vaalgras village to do shopping and visit family in Keetmanshoop daily, defended his mode of transport, saying his horse helps him to move around.

We understand that the animals are not welcome in town, but we have no option," said Germien's brother Sarel Blaauw.

Edien Bloodstaan also said he understands the other residents' concerns, but he cannot stay without transport as he stays outside town.

We use the animals to carry our wood, water and groceries, because we do not stay permanently in town," Bloodstaan explained.

No accident involving such animals has been reported yet.

Approached for comment, the chief executive officer of Keetmanshoop Town Council, Paul Vleermuis replied that the municipality is looking into the matter, and will address it soon.

He said this is the first time that people have complained about the animals. Thus, the council will take up the matter.

"The town does not have impounding laws yet, but provisions will be made to control the situation. We will be able to give feedback on the progress in two weeks' time," Vleermuis promised.


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